Grace and her mother and sisters live on an island off the west coast of Ireland. Their father is a successful writer of travel books that advocate a simpler way of life, though he is so seldom there that his family become the subjects of his social experiments and his children's freedom is indistinguishable from poverty. Grace and Jeannie take turns to look after their little sister Emily. Then one day - Grace's day - Em falls from the island's watchtower. But why and how Em found her way to that dangerous height remains a mystery, and Grace's lifelong remorse and guilt force her to relive the moment of her sister's death again and again.
This is a novel written with uncanny style and control, in a range of voices that mirror the growing wisdom of the characters about a world of adult self-indulgence and the consequences of careless decisions and dishonest compromises.
William Wall is an underrated Irish master whose work is reaching astonishing maturity.